Tag Archives: OddBox

Bill That Would Make It a Crime to Insult and Taunt Police Officers Advances Through Kentucky State Senate

Just toss that 1st Amendment – hell no! A new bill advanced out of a Kentucky state Senate committee Thursday, and if it passes into law, it would serve as the state’s (and possibly the nation’s) first blue fragility bill. What’s “blue fragility,” you ask? Well, it’s like white fragility, only you add a gun, badge and a massive ego that can’t take an insult…” j2zgjd0acx1m2rhjidil.jpg

A new bill advanced out of a Kentucky state Senate committee Thursday, and if it passes into law, it would serve as the state’s (and possibly the nation’s) first blue fragility bill. What’s “blue fragility,” you ask? Well, it’s like white fragility, only you add a gun, badge and a massive ego that can’t take an insult…

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The Deal That’s Saving San Francisco’s Restaurants

For pie bakers in the U.S. there are two major holidays: Thanksgiving and March 14, a.k.a. Pi Day. So it was a huge blow to San Francisco’s Three Babes Bakeshop when the pandemic-related cancelations began rolling in last March. As the Bay Area locked down, big corporate clients like Google canceled their orders. That month, owner Lenore Estrada laid off most of her staff and shelved her plans to open the company’s first brick-and-mortar storefront. 

Estrada’s experience was typical. By the end of April, according to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, only about 17 percent of San Francisco’s 3,900 restaurants were operating at all. Between March and August, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce estimated that business across the city’s restaurant industry fell by 91 percent

For restaurateurs and food producers, the early months of the lockdown were particularly challenging. No one knew when a full reopening could occur, and many restaurants shuttered to wait it out. But when it became clear that the shutdown was going to be longer than expected, many realized that what they needed were new paths to revenue until a full reopening — paths currently being forged by the SF New Deal. 

sf new dealSF New Deal partner Tato. The organization started by paying restaurants $10 per plate for as many meals as they could make. Credit: Margaret Austin Photography

Founded one year ago by Estrada, who is now the organization’s executive director, the SF New Deal provides monthly contracts to its restaurant partners to cook meals for underserved populations. As of February 2021, over 160 restaurants had been SF New Deal participants, collectively earning over $16 million over the course of 11 months. In contrast, government efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program, while helpful to those who could access it, weren’t designed to give restaurants a way to keep selling food — only to keep their workers on the payroll. In surveys conducted in May and September by the SF New Deal, only 77 percent of their restaurant partners reported receiving a PPP loan. Some, like New Harmony and Twisted St. Cafe, didn’t qualify because they had just opened that year and couldn’t prove loss of income. Others, like West African nightlife hub Little Baobab, were ineligible because of past legal complications.

“When the first round of (PPP) money ran out, I don’t even think I had been permitted to apply yet,” Estrada recalls. “There was a lot of outrage because all the biggest companies got PPP and they sucked up all the money, and nobody else got any.”

sf new dealSF New Deal partner House of Dim Sum. By October, the organization had 111 partners and had served over one million meals. Credit: Ian Tuttle

While Estrada was struggling to figure out a path forward for Three Babes, Emmett Shear, a college friend and CEO of the live-streaming platform Twitch, asked her if there was a way he could help small businesses like hers, pledging $1 million to the as-yet-unnamed project. Another friend and long-time seasonal employee, Jacob Bindman, also offered to help, so Estrada brought him on to co-found the SF New Deal. By March 23, just one week into San Francisco’s lockdown, they’d incorporated as a non-profit and signed on their first restaurant partners. The terms of these initial contracts were simple: They would pay restaurants $10 per plate for as many meals as they could make, and deliver those meals to people suffering from food insecurity.

The timing was perfect: Organizations such as the African-American Faith-based Coalition — accustomed to providing meals to their constituents a couple of times a week — were facing more demand than they could fulfill. Knowing that these community-based organizations “already had the infrastructure in place” to get the meals out was key, Bindman explains, as it allowed the SF New Deal to distribute meals quickly and in volume, and sign on more restaurants. 

sf new dealA courier delivering SF New Deal meals. 48 percent of participating restaurants reported that 50 to 100 percent of their revenue was coming from their SF New Deal contracts, and only one restaurant had closed for good.

Another key assist came from autonomous vehicle company Cruise, which donated deliveries, shuttling hundreds of meals from participating restaurants to community organizers. At the end of March, the SF New Deal had over 30 restaurants enrolled. By the time they released their October impact report they had 111, and had served over one million meals. Though each restaurant operator had to figure out how to maintain physical distancing recommendations, most reported being able to hire back around 20 percent of previously laid-off workers. Others, like Little Baobab, were able to retain almost their full staff from the outset.

“Our first marker of success was that one-third of jobs (for our restaurant partners) were safe due to the program.” Bindman notes. 

Little Baobab owner Marco Senghor. “SF New Deal was 90 percent of our income,” he says. Credit: Ian Tuttle

When Little Baobab first signed onto the SF New Deal at the end of March, owner Marco Senghor estimates they were preparing 500 to 700 meals per week. “SF New Deal was 90 percent of our income,” he says. Now able to operate the restaurant for take-out part-time, he’s reduced their participation to approximately 250 meals per week, bringing in an additional $10,000 of monthly revenue — a huge relief for Senghor who’d originally thought that he’d have to close down forever. This flexibility regarding level of participation is part of the SF New Deal by design. Restaurants can choose what makes economic sense for them at any given moment, or step away altogether once they’ve stabilized. 

Currently operating four different programs with four discrete funding streams, the SF New Deal acts primarily as a liaison and project manager, applying for and channeling federal, state and local relief funds to its participants. By using what Estrada terms “collective power,” it’s able to secure government mass-feeding contracts that would otherwise be out of reach for individual businesses to obtain. For example, the Great Plates Delivered program is a collaboration between the SF New Deal and San Francisco’s Department of Disability and Aging Services, and funded in part by FEMA federal relief funds that are renewed on a month-to-month basis.

sf new deal“The overall energy is to believe that we shouldn’t just accept the standards that we’re currently accepting,” says Executive Director Lenore Estrada

Depending on which program a restaurant signs up for, they can expect to make between $3,000 and $6,000 per week. Overall, according to the SF New Deal’s impact report, 48 percent of participating restaurants reported that 50 to 100 percent of their revenue was coming from their SF New Deal contracts — and only one restaurant had closed for good. Another less quantifiable benefit of the program is the community-centered care it provides. As Chelsea Hung of Chinatown stalwart Washington Bakery points out, their participation in the program directly benefits not only their staff and their meal recipients, but also the many neighborhood vendors they work with. Plus, since they are primarily feeding seniors in their own backyard, they’re able to provide them with culturally specific meals rather than generic government fare.

When asked how the SF New Deal might serve as a blueprint for other cities to replicate, Estrada emphasizes that listening to and working directly with impacted communities has helped them develop flexible programs to meet a diversity of needs. She also notes that by acquiring private donations, particularly the initial $1 million from Shear, they were able to launch more quickly than the local or federal government, proving that grassroots mutual aid is not only feasible, but scalable.

“The overall energy is to believe that we shouldn’t just accept the standards that we’re currently accepting,” she says. “Just saying, ‘Hey, I think we can do better than this,’ and then achieving that.”

The post The Deal That’s Saving San Francisco’s Restaurants appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt Are Cool, But It Was Wyomia Tyus Who 1st Won Consecutive Olympic 100m Gold Medals

When you control the narrative, you create the rules. And when it comes to Olympic sprinter Wyomia Tyus, it should come as no surprise that history has tried its best to cast yet another Black woman aside. btmuxvjfrw9cus0bprvv.png

When you control the narrative, you create the rules. And when it comes to Olympic sprinter Wyomia Tyus, it should come as no surprise that history has tried its best to cast yet another Black woman aside.

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CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO

Dedicado a «el Coronel».

Hoy hace un año todavía.

 

¿Os habéis fijado que antes, cuando alguien moría en un libro, siempre llovía? Y es que la lluvia ayudaba a crear ambiente. Sus tonalidades plomizas y húmedas subrayaban la tristeza y el recogimiento y amplificaban el dolor de la pérdida. El cielo lloraba y los personajes, también. Tenía coherencia.

El ritmo lo ponían las pequeñas gotas de agua golpeando insistentes como un pájaro carpintero sobre la lápida recién colocada; también sobre los paraguas, negros, por supuesto, que añadían un toque luctuoso a la escena. Los charcos, las salpicaduras de barro en la ropa y las flores húmedas sobre el túmulo hacían el resto.

Ahora, con esto del cambio climático, ya no llueve ni en los libros. Los rayos de sol reverberan impúdicos en las ventanas al paso de la comitiva fúnebre. El calor intenso seca las lágrimas en cuanto asoman entre los párpados y la piel de los dolientes se broncea mientras rezan el responso.

No hay flores, si acaso algo de romero en alguna página perdida. Y cactus, muchos cactus que te clavan sus espinas al menor descuido.

Para intentar crear un contexto más adecuado al argumento, los personajes esconden el rostro tras unas enormes gafas polarizadas que le bajan el brillo a la vida. Además, los más allegados al finado cojean levemente sobre el asfalto, como si su pie izquierdo soportase así el sobrepeso de un corazón roto.

Pero aunque intentan disimular, se les nota a todos la prisa por regresar a sus casas, sentarse a la sombra y, a falta de agua, tomarse un refresco para hidratar sus pequeñas entrañas de papel.

Nada que ver. Y sinceramente, así no hay quien escriba.

Publicada en la web Profesor Jonk

La entrada CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO se publicó primero en Escribir sobre la punta de la i.

Cuttlefish Pass Marshmallow Test

Cuttlefish are amazing little critters. They are cephalopods (along with octopus, quid, and nautilus), they see polarized light and can use that to change their skin color to match their surroundings. They have eight arms and two tentacles, all with suckers, that they use to capture prey. They, like other cephalopods, are also pretty smart. And now, apparently, they are also in the very elite club of animals who can pass the marshmallow test.

The “marshmallow test” is a psychological experiment of the ability to delay gratification. The basic study involves putting a treat (like a marshmallow, but it can be anything) in front of a young child and telling them they can have it now, or they can wait until the adult returns at which time they will be given two treats. The question is – how long can children hold out in order to double their treats? The interesting part of this research paradigm are all the associated factors. Older children can hold out longer than younger children. The greater the reward, the more children can wait for it. Children who find ways to distract themselves can hold out longer.

For decades the test and all its variations was interpreted as a measure of executive function, and correlated with all sorts of things like later academic and economic success. However, more recent studies have found (unsurprisingly) that there can be confounding factors not previously recognized. For example, children from insecure environments have not reason to trust that adults will return with more treats and therefore take what is in front of them. This could be seen as an adaptive response to their environment.

In any case – the core phenomenon seems robust. At the very least it requires a certain amount of self-control and perhaps some metacognition to be able to inhibit a desired behavior for future gain. Which animals have passed some version of this test? Chimpanzees are the best documented. Not only will they wait for a larger reward, they will find ways to distract themselves to help them do it (demonstrating metacognition – self-awareness of their own mental state). Some other primates, corvids, parrots, and dogs have also demonstrated some ability at delayed reward. This list makes sense – these are all animals who have demonstrated cognitive abilities rare in the animal world and associated with humans.

We can now add cuttlefish to the list, and this also makes sense because cephalopods have also previously demonstrated good problem-solving skills. The research not only shows that cuttlefish can delay gratification – wait for a greater reward – but that smarter cuttlefish were able to do it better. The researchers tested the ability of the cuttlefish to learn associations, and the ones who performed better were able to hold out longer on the marshmallow test. This reinforces the notion that some degree of cognitive ability is required in order to delay gratification.

This may also be a specific skill, not just a marker of overall cognitive power. In other words, perhaps there is some specific selective pressure that favors individuals with the brain wiring to delay reward. What would that be in cuttlefish? This is where evolutionary speculation comes into play, but this is what the authors surmise. Cuttlefish are predators, but they are also prey. They use camouflage and hide in order to avoid being eaten, which means before they get to eat they have to wait patiently until the coast is clear. A juicy morsel may swim by, but the cuttlefish has to stay hidden because there are also predators nearby. Cuttlefish who could not control themselves were more likely to get eaten.

This scenario makes sense, and perhaps could be tested by seeing, for example, if there is a correlation between average wait times for hunting prey and chance of becoming prey among cuttlefish. In any case – there is probably a combination of overall general intelligence and the specific ability to delay gratification at work here. Another way to look at this, which fits with the evidence, even with people, is that gratification can be delayed if there is another cognitive factor at work that is stronger than the immediate desire to obtain the treat.

This seems to come down to math – various factors are being weighed affecting the final decision. In the case of the marshmallow test, it is not just a binary choice – there is also the amount of time that an individual can hold out. So this experimental paradigm may be optimal for weighing various factors. As mentioned, for example, the bigger the later reward, the longer people can hold out on average, without any apparent upper limit. It’s a calculation. Much of our decision-making may be similarly calculated (at least in the aggregate), just not as obvious.

It’s hard for us to imagine what is happening inside the mind of a cuttlefish, a product of a distant evolutionary path. But there is some convergence here, probably because some things are fundamental and basic, like calculating optimal outcomes.

The post Cuttlefish Pass Marshmallow Test first appeared on NeuroLogica Blog.

Texas and Mississippi Lift Mask Mandate, Once Again Proving the GOP Is Truly the Anti-Life Party

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As we reach the first anniversary of the start of our year-long, COVID-induced Netflix binge, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Vaccinations, while having a tumultuous rollout, have steadily continued, and nationwide case numbers and hospitalizations have been trending downward. While these are positive…

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